FAQ’s about New Jersey Special Education Law

Education Lawyer in Hackensack, New Jersey

Parents embarking on the special education process in New Jersey have many questions, and countless more may arise along the way. If you have a child with special needs or a disability in New Jersey and you want to ensure they receive the special education services to which they are entitled, having an experienced NJ special education lawyer advocating for your child throughout the process is highly advisable. Rosa Elfant Rickett is a seasoned New Jersey special education attorney who has dedicated her career to special education and family law in New Jersey. She works with parents and local school boards and school districts on a regular basis to ensure that children with special needs are not deprived of a free and appropriate education. To discuss your child’s specific situation, learn more about the special education process in New Jersey, and find out how Rosa can help you and your family, contact The Elfant Rickett Law Firm in Bergen County at 201.968.5700. Also, read on to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about New Jersey Special Education Law.

Frequently Asked Questions about NJ Education for Children with Special Needs and Disabilities

Below are answers to some of the most common questions among parents of children with special needs and disabilities in New Jersey, regarding schools and their child’s rights in an education environment:

  • Each request that a parent makes of the Child Study Team (CST) must be in writing to ensure the child’s rights are protected.
  • A parent has the right to request an evaluation for his/her child if there is a reason to believe that the child has a disability. The written request must be addressed to the director of special education in the school district in which the family is residing or the district where the child is attending school if the child is in out of home placement/homeless.
  • There is NO waiting list for a parent requesting an evaluation.
  • The school district’s special education office must respond to a parent within twenty (20) days of receipt of a parent’s written request. This means that an evaluation can be started at any time throughout the year. It is NEVER “too late in the school year” to begin the process.
  • The parent must receive copies of the evaluation reports at least ten (10) days before a scheduled meeting between the parents and the Child Study Team (CST) in order to determine whether the child is eligible for special education. All notices including letters must be in a language that the parent understands unless clearly not possible.
  • If the parent’s request for an evaluation is denied, the parent has the right to request State mediation and/or a due process hearing.
  • The school may also request an evaluation and must have the parent’s written consent to proceed. If the parent refuses, the school can seek State mediation and/or a due process hearing.
  • If a child is determined to be eligible for special education services, the IEP team must develop an IEP for that child.
  • The Child Study Team (CST) is comprised of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher-consultant (LDTC) and a social worker. Sometimes, a speech-language specialist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist may be a part of the CST.
  • A child deemed eligible for special education is assigned a case manager, who oversees the implementation of that child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Written requests should be made to the child’s case manager with a copy to the director of special education.
  • The parent must be included in all decision-making and invited o all meetings. The parent also has the right to have an interpreter present during meetings, unless clearly not possible.
  • The cost of services may not be used as a factor in the Child Study Team’s decisions. A parent may not be required by the IEP, or for evaluations that the CST agrees are needed.
  • After participating in the development of the initial IEP, the parent must provide written consent before the program is implemented.
  • The parent should go to all IEP meetings, and if possible, bring another adult, such as a spouse, a friend or an advocate. The parent, as well as the school, has the right to bring a tape recorder.
  • The parent has the right to disagree with the findings of the evaluation, the classification, the IEP and/or the educational placement. A parent has fifteen (15) days to review and agree to the IEP. A parent cannot be required to sign off on the program at the meeting where the plan is first developed.
  • If/When there is a disagreement about evaluation results or the education program, the parent may request IN WRITING that the Child Study Team (CST) agree to an independent outside evaluation, at no cost to the family.
  • If the school district refuses to consent to the independent evaluation or there continues to be a disagreement regarding what the IEP states, either party (parent or school) may ask for State mediation and/or a due process hearing, and that request must be sent directly to the New Jersey Office of Special Education in Trenton.
  • The IEP that is developed in each year that follow the initial IEP does not require the parent’s written consent. The only way that a parent can reject a new IEP is to request State mediation or file a complaint for a due process hearing within fifteen (15) days of receiving the proposed IEP.
  • A parent DOES NOT have the final say when there is a disagreement with the school district’s decision. When disputes cannot be resolved, the parent’s only option is to request State mediation and/or a due process hearing.

If you have a child with special needs or a disability in New Jersey and you need assistance with a special education matter or you want to learn more about your child’s rights or eligibility for specialized services, contact The Elfant Rickett Law Firm in Hackensack at 201.968.5700 to consult with a New Jersey education attorney.

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The Elfant Rickett Law Firm Serves Clients throughout New Jersey, including in: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County.

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